Iran’s ‘largest internet shutdown ever’ is happening now

(CNN) – Iran has gone almost entirely offline as authorities try to stem the spread of nationwide protests that have gripped the country since Friday.

Protesters took to the streets shortly after the government announced an increase in fuel prices by as much as 300%. Social media images showed banks, petrol stations and government buildings set ablaze by rioters. Some protesters chanted “down with Khamenei,” according to videos, referring to the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The internet blackout started on Saturday evening and continued through Monday, according to internet watchdogs. Oracle’s Internet Intelligence called it the “largest internet shutdown ever observed in Iran.”

In other countries where nationwide protests have rattled the political elite — such as Iraq and Lebanon — social media has played a key role in mobilizing protesters. It is unclear if Iranian authorities will succeed in quelling the demonstrations by depriving them of this crucial protest tool.